Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has already visited Melbourne to hold talks with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews regarding the possibility of shifting its headquarters to the city, according to reports.
The state is seeking to woo the 5,000 positions currently based in Sydney and also protect the 1,000 roles located at the Collingwood home of subsidiary Jetstar.
In September, the business announced it was mulling shifting all its bases to one city, as part of a review into its office space caused by downsizing its workforce.
The Sydney Morning Herald also claimed the pair spoke about how to increase flights in and out of the state while Joyce personally scouted out locations that could house a new HQ.
Premier Andrews has spoken openly about his ambition to shift Qantas roles to Melbourne.
“We think that we have a very attractive offer to make and we’ll work through that to try and have as many jobs as we possibly can in our city and state,” he said in September.
Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi has also said the area’s proposal is “really strong” and would be “incredibly hard to match anywhere else”.
“The most recent commitments to airport rail underscore just how highly Victoria values aviation,” Strambi said.
Qantas previously sparked a state bidding war when it said “anything that can move” is “on the table”, including its facilities in Mascot, Collingwood and Brisbane.
Chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson revealed the new Western Sydney Airport is “part of our thinking” and even suggested Qantas was looking for “potential incentives” from states to relocate.
The three-month review will focus on non-aviation facilities, including the company’s leased 49,000-square-metre base in Mascot, Sydney, and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood, Melbourne.
However, it’s also flagged that “some aviation facilities”, such as flight simulator centres in Sydney and Melbourne and a heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane could move, too.
Qantas said it has no intention to offshore facilities and insisted the move is entirely due to the job losses already announced, and to save money on the $40 million annual spend on leased office space.
“As well as simply rightsizing the amount of space we have, there are opportunities to consolidate some facilities and unlock economies of scale,” said Hudson. “For instance, we could co-locate the Qantas and Jetstar head offices in a single place rather than splitting them across Sydney and Melbourne.
“Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review. We’ll also be making the new Western Sydney Airport part of our thinking, given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.
“This is about setting the Qantas Group up for the long term as well as recovering from the COVID crisis. And we’re open-minded about the outcome. It’s possible that our HQ stays where it is but becomes a lot smaller, and other facilities consolidate elsewhere. Or we could wind up with a single, all-purpose campus that brings together many different parts of the group. These are all options we need to consider as we look to the future.”
In June, the wider Qantas group announced it would cut 6,000 jobs altogether, or nearly 20 per cent of its workforce, and continue stand-downs for a further 15,000 employees.
Two months later, its full-year financial results revealed a loss before tax of $2.7 billion and an underlying profit before tax of just $124 million.